Shifting Shapes: Witch Characters and Witchy Performances

deadline for submissions: 
January 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Jane Barnette & Chrystyna Dail / Theatre History Studies
contact email: 

Call for Papers: Special Section

Theatre History Studies Volume 40 (2021)


Co-editors: Jane Barnette and Chrystyna Dail


Shifting Shapes: Witch Characters and Witchy Performances 

Actual or inferred witch characters appear in myriad cultures spanning theatre and performance history. Examples abound: the witch-demons in Kyogen, the virgins in Hrosvitha’s Dulcitius, Adeola and several witch doctor characters in Amos Tutuola’s plays, the weird sisters in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, drag witch Jinkx Monsoon, the man cooking Ufe and Wine in Carmen Boullosa’s Cocinar hombres; the “good/bad” witches in iterations of The Wizard of Oz. Witches might be of any sex or gender, gorgeous or grotesque, corporeal or immaterial.

Witch characters and witchy performances invite unlimited interpretations and offer fertile ground for a wide scope of analyses. Witches serve our stages and rostrums as protagonists, antagonists and foils. They may be healers, seers, match makers, pranksters or causers of irreparable harm. Depending on cultural contexts and historical moments, witches can be celebrated beings, scapegoats, respected elders, odd youngsters, hyper-sexualized teens, powerful insiders, maligned “others” or harbingers of social instability. Furthermore, due to the frequency of an explicit focus on physical bodies, abilities and sexualities, witch characters elicit visceral reactions that prove empowering or debilitating to many traditionally marginalized populations in theatre and performance. 

The co-editors of this special section invite papers considering how the stage witch operates as a sign within a specific cultural moment; how witchiness provides a uniquely gendered consciousness; and how performed witch(y) bodies negotiate and challenge contemporary and/or culturally situated attitudes on sexuality, race, age, and ability.

Please email the co-editors with your proposed manuscripts no later than January 1st, 2020.

Please direct Special Section inquiries and manuscripts to:

                                                       Jane Barnette                                                    Chrystyna Dail



Theatre History Studies is the official journal of the Mid-America Theatre Conference and is published by the University of Alabama Press. Please send manuscripts prepared in conformity with the guidelines in the Chicago Manual of Styleand the University of Alabama Press style sheet located on the MATC website (here). Illustrations are encouraged. Essays should be between 6,000-8,000 words and use endnotes rather than footnotes. 

Theatre History Studiesaccepts submissions for its general issue on the full range of topics in theatre history on a rolling deadline. Please send manuscripts for the general section to: 

Dr. Lisa Jackson-Schebetta, Editor, Theatre History Studies

Associate Professor, Theater

Skidmore College

851 N. Broadway

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866